If your dog keeps howling at night you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you twelve common reasons why they do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
Possible reasons why your dog howls at night are separation anxiety, it needs to pee, hunger, a problem with the room it sleeps in, it hears other dogs howling or it hears other noises.
It could be the case that there is a combination of causes at play. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.
Why your dog howls at night
Below are twelve reasons why your dog might be doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
The reason why it has been doing it might be due to having some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if you do not let it sleep with you, if it has started howling since you stopped letting it sleep with you or if it starts getting anxious when you are about to go to bed.
It might help to follow the tips given in this book on Amazon which is about how to deal with dog separation anxiety.
It hears other dogs howling
Dogs are generally meant to get daily exercise. When dogs do not get enough exercise it can cause them to behave abnormally and it might a part of the reason why yours has been howling at night. This would be more likely if it tends to howl more on nights that it has not gotten any exercise. It would help to make sure that your dog has been getting the right amount of exercise for its age and breed.
A problem with its sleeping environment
The cause could also be that there is an issue with the room that it has to sleep in. It might be too hot, too loud, too bright, too noisy or there might not be enough space for it to lay down comfortably.
Another possible reason why it howls at night is that it is hungry. It might be the case that it has not been eating enough or it might be having to wait for too long between meals. If it currently is only getting fed in the mornings, it might help to feed it less in the mornings but to feed it in the evenings as well instead.
An issue with its diet
It might also be the case that there is an issue with the foods that it has been eating. It might be eating things that it should not be or it might not be getting the right nutrients in its diet. This would be more likely if it tends to howl when it has eaten certain foods or if it has started doing it since a change in its diet.
It hears noises
It might be the case that it hears noises that it does not like at night. This would be more likely if it only howls on certain nights or if it only does it when it is in a certain room.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that you have encouraged it to howl at night by giving it things it wants when it does it. If it does not seem to howl for any particular reason such as needing to pee, but you give it attention when it starts howling, it will likely howl more in order to get more attention.
Instead, it would help to give it attention in the mornings when it does not howl, and to avoid giving it attention at night when it starts howling unless necessary.
Needing to pee
Another possible cause is that it needs to pee. This would be more likely if it is a puppy and if it tends to howl more when it does not get to pee in the evenings.
The cause might also be that something has been causing it to be in pain at night. This would be more likely if it has started howling at night suddenly and if it has been showing signs of discomfort during the day. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
A change in its routine at night
Dogs generally like having a set routine that they can follow. If your dog has started howling since changing its routine at night, it might be the case that it has been howling due to confusion about what is going on.
For example, it might be struggling to adapt to the new routine if you have started going to bed sooner or if you have started getting it to sleep somewhere else.
In this case, it would likely help to wait for it to get accustomed to the new routine and to avoid rewarding it when it howls unless it seems to be due to something such as needing to pee.
As dogs get older their joints become painful and it might be causing it to howl at night. This would be more likely if your dog is old and if it has been showing signs of being in discomfort during the day and at night. In this case, it would help to consult with your vet about it.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out why your dog has been howling at night.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If it did not always howl at night, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
If it started doing it suddenly, it would make it more likely to be due to things such as a change in its diet, a change in its sleeping environment, illness, injury or a change in its routine at night.
What is different when it does not howl at night
It would also help to consider if there are some nights when it does not howl and what is different on those nights.
For example, if it does not howl on nights when it does not eat a certain food, it could be the case that there is an issue with what it has been eating.
How old it is
It would also help to consider the age of your dog. If it is a puppy, it would make it more likely to be due to things such as needing to pee, separation anxiety or wanting extra attention. Whereas, if it is an adult, it would be more likely to be due to things such as a change in its routine, getting less exercise, an issue with its sleeping environment or being in pain at night.
How to get your dog to stop howling at night
Below are some things you can do to get your dog to stop howling at night.
Feed it earlier in the evening
It might help to avoid feeding it right before bedtime since it might be causing it to struggle to fall asleep.
Reduce its separation anxiety
It is possible that it howls because of having some separation anxiety. As a result, it would help to take measures to reduce how anxious is becomes when you are leaving it alone.
It might be worth following the tips given in this book on Amazon about dealing with dog separation anxiety.
Ensure that it is getting the right diet
As mentioned above, it could be the case that there is an issue with its diet. It would help to make sure that it has been getting the right diet, that no one has been feeding it without you knowing, that it has not got access to things it shouldn’t be eating and to feed it earlier in the evening.
It is also important to ensure that it is able to get the daily amount of exercise recommended for its age and breed.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that it does it because it is trying to get extra attention or rewards from you. It would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it howls at night so that it learns that howling doesn’t get it extra attention. That is unless it seems to be howling for a different reason such as to go outside to pee, an issue with the room it sleeps in or because of an injury.
Ensure its sleeping environment is appropriate
It would also help to make sure that the room it sleeps in is not too hot, bright, loud and that there is a space for it to lay down.
Crate training is where you teach your dog to learn to be comfortable inside of a crate designed for dogs.
If you crate train your dog in the right way it will give it a space where it can feel safe. This will give your dog a space where it will be able to feel secure at night without you being around.
Let it pee
It would also likely help to make sure to let it pee just before going to bed.
If it has started howling since a change in its routine at night, such as since making it sleep in a different room without you, it would be likely that it will stop howling after a few days or weeks. In this case, it would help to be patient and to avoid rewarding it for howling. In this case, if it does not improve after a few weeks, it would help to get help from a dog behaviorist or to take it to a vet.
Get help from a vet or dog behaviorist
If it seems like it might be doing it due to being in discomfort, the best option would be to take it to a vet. If you cannot get it to stop but it is not injured, another option would be to get help from a dog behaviorist.